One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Fifth in order or rank.‘she discusses other mixtures, including those of the secondary through quinary colours’
historical Relating to or denoting a former system of classification in which the animal kingdom is divided into five subkingdoms, and each subkingdom into five classes.
- ‘When Darwin read that an opponent of the ‘quinary’ system was proposing a modification to sets of four, he expostulated in his notebooks, ‘Anyone may believe anything in such rigmarole about analogies and numbers’.’
Early 17th century: from Latin quinarius, from quini ‘five at once, a set of five’, from quinque ‘five’.
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